Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reinvesting Author Royalties In The Books That Earned Them: History Articles

Since new covers added sales to my travel photo books (and then to my tech illiterate books), I decided to finish out my non-fiction book re-branding by having the covers for my history articles redone. I kept the original images and handed them over to Elizabeth Mackey (again) for more professional looking covers. Here are the six new book covers (and they're linked to their Amazon pages):

Constantine: The Emperor of Tolerance

Constantine has now sold over 200 copies if you combine sales from all formats. I considered buying a new image but ultimately decided that it sold pretty well as it was, so all I really needed was a better looking title and a more uniform location for my author name (you'll notice my author name is now in the same location and font on all of my non-fiction titles.) I decided to follow suit with all of my history articles.

Caribbean Piracy: Pirates and Privateers

Caribbean Piracy just broke into triple digit sales not that long ago, becoming my second history article to sell more than 100 copies. I still really like this image. It features a monkey mask I got in Hawaii, a shark-tooth dagger I got at the Polynesian cultural center, and a dagger I had made in the Philippines. The monkey mask was brightened up a bit for the current version of the cover.

The Mormon Theocracy

The Mormon Theocracy is unique among my history articles. It has no subtitle and it actually contains two history articles instead of one (one on the early Mormon theocracy in Utah and a second article on Gregory Palamas, the Orthodox monk, and his thoughts on God.) Since it was hit by a 1 star review from someone who never read it, it has recovered to become my most reviewed history article and has had a decent number of sales this year.

Luther Standing Bear: Assimilation

Luther Standing Bear features an Igorot shield and spear that I purchased in Maharlika (in Baguio when I was last in the Philippines.) I wanted it badly enough that I didn't negotiate very aggressively for it but it also slightly hurt my negotiating stance that I could only find it in one shop. This article received it's first five star review this year and has sold the second most paperbacks of any of my history articles for 2014 (the award for most paperbacks sold this year goes to Constantine as of right now.)

Prayer: Archangels and Intercessory Beings

Prayer was hit by a one star review at the same time The Mormon Theocracy was (by the same crazy lady who never bothered to read it.) I made it free for a while to get some more reviews and it currently has a 3 star rating overall with 6 reviews. The praying Mary and Joseph carvings are a part of a nativity set I purchased in Baguio. Now that it's back at an average rating, I've set it to eventually go back to it's original price. I'm not sure when exactly that will happen.

Gateway to the Vikings: L'Anse aux Meadows

After some decent sales in 2013, my article on the Vikings who explored North America was hit with a two star review. It's currently set to free through all major e-book retailers. Vikings has actually done better via Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Apple as a freebie than it has through Amazon (which is unusual.) It still only has the one two star review on Amazon, claiming that this article doesn't tell you where L'Anse aux Meadows is and that all of the info in it is available for free. He's right about his first point (I assume people know how to use Google) but way off on his second point. Many of the articles I referenced in this article are only available via JSTOR (a paid subscription site for history articles.) If you're looking for an interesting read and grab this one as a freebie, please consider leaving a review if you learn from it or enjoy it.

I've also gone to a more uniform pricing format for my history articles. Making $0.70 per copy sold wasn't working very well and Amazon's new price analysis tool recommended that I change the price to $2.99 on all of my articles based on data collected from other non-fiction titles similar to mine (Constantine was already at that price and outselling all of the others.) I went with their data and moved the price to $2.99 on all of them except for Vikings, which is currently free. I still don't know what I'm going to do with the five article collection, so I've let it keep it's original cover for now and stay at a $4.99 price point until I figure out what to do with it.

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